• Project is the army's largest renewable-energy venture
  • Apex Clean Energy signed contract for up to $497.4 million

The U.S. Army has signed a contract for its biggest renewable-energy project yet, picking Apex Clean Energy Inc. to provide 65 megawatts of solar and wind energy at Fort Hood in Texas.

The Defense Logistics Agency signed a 30-year contract with Charlottesville, Virginia-based Apex for 15 megawatts of solar and 50 megawatts of wind, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The Army will pay closely held Apex as much as $497.4 million over the life of the deal, about $168 million less than what it would pay for power from the traditional electricity grid, the defense agency said in a separate statement.

“We are not spending money for optics or to feel good about our work,” Richard Kidd, the Army’s deputy assistant secretary for energy and sustainability, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “We are spending money that either enhances our mission effectiveness or is an investment that saves resources over time.”

The solar plant will be built at Fort Hood, located about 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of Austin. The wind farm will be built off-site in Floyd County, Texas. The agency expects 28 years of energy production from the farms, starting next year.

The Army has as much as 600 megawatts of contracted renewable-energy projects in its portfolio, Kidd said. It also has 22 megawatts of rooftop solar and another 40 under development.

Renewable energy is “not a science project,” he said. “It’s not a boutique activity to satisfy a mandate. This is central to energy security.”

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